“Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.” – Roy M. Goodman
Ever felt like you need an actual vacation from your vacation?
We’ve all felt the distinct discomfort of indulging a little too much and feeling totally thrown off upon returning home. Traveling (and fun in the sun!) doesn’t have to spell doom for your health, however. In fact, by injecting a little wellness into your travel plans, you may even return feeling truly refreshed.
If you follow our blog here at Hudson Healing Arts, you’ll know we’re big believers in balance. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our best travel tips to help you find balance physically, emotionally, and spiritually this summer, no matter what kind of adventures you have planned...
~When planning your itinerary, give yourself more time than you think you need. So much travel stress stems from a perceived lack of time, which we often bring upon ourselves with crazy schedules and expectations. By giving ourselves the gift of more time, we can truly savor the journey and make room for spontaneity.
~Let each family member choose an activity on the trip so that all ages have something to look forward to--you might even be surprised how much you enjoy the activities that you yourself would never have chosen!
~After you pack, let it sit for a day (or a few hours, if that’s your timeline) and then reassess with fresh eyes. Lightening your load saves yourself the frustration of lugging around an over-packed bag and frees up your ability to bring back a souvenir or two!
Food & Drink
~Dehydration is a common travel foe, but you can beat it by keeping your own BPA-free jug on you at all times--plus, you’ll avoid paying for overpriced water bottles. Decorating your jug with fun stickers from your destinations gives you more incentive not to lose it!
-Healthy, potassium-packed, and portable, bananas are the perfect travel companion. Chia seeds are also an excellent addition to almost any meal; bring them with you to sprinkle on salads, smoothies, yogurt, etc. for a nutritional boost. And don’t forget the coconut water - it’s great for replacing electrolytes!
~Drinking warm water with lemon in the morning and evening is a great way to detoxify and help with digestion. Probiotic drinks like kombucha and kefir are also good choices to boost your immune system, which can be vulnerable while traveling.
~Eating out for every meal definitely takes its toll on our bodies, energy levels, and wallets. Cooking on vacation gets a dreary rep, but really you just have to find the rhythm and approach it in the right spirit. It calls for creativity and whimsical improvisations you normally wouldn’t make. Lemons, olive oil, sea salt, and good bread are staples that can create a wide variety of meals—venture into nearby stores to add a unique local flavor. Theme nights, where everyone takes turns cooking up a meal of their choice, are another memorable idea.
~If you’re staying in a hotel, call ahead about a mini-fridge; many hotels have stopped placing them in rooms, but you can usually request one free of charge.
Mind, Body & Soul
~Journal your experience: A change of scenery often brings with it striking clarity and inspiration for returning to your own life back home. Plus, it’ll help you remember all the interesting people and places you encounter!
~If you’re feeling anxious, bring a small token from home to ground you. This could be a favorite crystal, talisman, or a photo that makes you feel at peace.
~Rituals are so very important to our lives: they center us, make our ordinary lives extraordinary, and transform our perception. During vacation, the rituals you hold sacred don’t have to fly out the window--rather, embrace this exciting opportunity to get inventive. For instance, maybe your normally-still meditation becomes a walking meditation as you soak up the new scenery. If you need inspiration or encouragement, check out Headspace, a brilliant app that’s just added meditations for walking. Just a few minutes of quiet reflection can positively impact the course of your entire day.
~While it’s true that smartphones can make unfamiliar places less intimidating, resist the urge to turn to GPS and Google for everything. By interacting with locals and exploring, you truly live in the present--and welcome adventure. You might just discover something unexpected and delightful! If you have kids, suggest a tech-free day where everyone leaves their phones behind.
~Instead of just supervising, get involved playing with little ones. Kick a ball, hula hoop, whip out water guns or play badminton... your inner child will thank you!
~Simply adding flowers to a mason jar is a small decorative touch that does wonders for the ambience of your campground, cabin, or hotel room.
~Taking a walk once you’ve settled in is an excellent way to not only ground yourself but experience the new sights of your destination.
~Whether you’re on an unfamiliar hike or really don’t want to forget where you parked, snap a picture on your phone for peace of mind.
~If your trip is of the outdoorsy variety, burn some sage and rosemary in a campfire for an au naturale (and delicious-smelling) way to repel mosquitos.
~Rescue Remedy, a Bach Flower blend of five essences for stress-relief, is a wonderful tool to stash in your carry-on so you can keep calm despite any stressful travel situations (you can learn more in our blog post here).
~Work emails are a no-no on vacation for a reason, and our work truly benefits so much more when we unplug. Take this time to read for pleasure, listen to CDs or podcasts that entertain you, watch a silly sitcom you wouldn’t normally indulge in, and enjoy yourself.
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No matter where we go, great vacations are all about enjoying a more relaxed way of living and treasuring quality time with our loved ones. Hopefully, they are also a great reminder to bring that spirit of adventure, play, and exploration into our own daily lives.
Now, we’d love to hear from you--what is your favorite travel tip or way to stay healthy during vacation?
Hannah Chenoweth is a Hoboken-based conference producer and freelance writer who enjoys covering all aspects of health and wellness.